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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Psychologist's advice: Keep SCORE -- and your sanity

For those of you who will be keeping score at home tonight, and especially you lucky ones who will be in the boxes or bleachers, McLean Hospital sports psychologist Dr. Jeff Brown has some advice for you to combat stress:

Stay in the moment
Control only the factors that you can control
Respect the Opponent; if they arenít good, neither are you
Release emotion in healthy ways
Expect your team to compete again.

Back in 2004, when the Red Sox were clawing their way back against the Yankees and into the World Series, Brown developed a plan to help fans keep their equilibrium during that post-season roller-coaster ride. The Rockies arenít exactly ancient rivals, but that doesnít mean our stress is any less, he said in an interview.

ďItís easy to start thinking in a negative way,Ē he said, even without an 86-year-old curse. Thereís that Colorado winning streak, for starters.

Fans can borrow some principles from cognitive behavioral theory to manage their anxiety, he said. Focus on the moment, pitch by pitch and swing by swing. While we really canít do much about bad calls by the umpires or poor choices by managers -- or anything on the field -- we can do something about our own emotions.

ďIf you canít deal with the game, get up and take a walk,Ē he said.

If the Rockies take the first one tonight, whatís a fan to do?

ďAll we can do is remember with the Red Sox, it ainít over til itís over,Ē he said.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 04:42 PM
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